Spring Review -- Offensive Line

Spring football is over and the Hurricanes are now going into Phase Three, which is summer conditioning. Lets review the offensive line play from the spring and what lies ahead.

The Players:
The Hurricanes returned returned just two starters from the 2011 season -- right guard Brandon Linder and right tackle Jon Feliciano, who was moved to guard to begin the spring. Linder had a strong spring and is probably the leader of the entire group. He has the most experience and is probably Miami's top player at this position. Feliciano went down with an injury early on and missed most of spring.

The new starters to start spring were left tackle Malcolm Bunche, center Shane McDermott, and right tackle Jermaine Johnson. Bunche held his own and showed improvement throughout. He seems to have the left tackle spot locked down heading into the summer. McDermott was rock solid in the middle and should adequately replace Tyler Horn there. Johnson was having a solid spring at right tackle but then got moved to left guard when Feliciano went down. He was solid there but ended up missing the spring game due to injury.

After Johnson got moved inside, Seantrel Henderson took over the starting duties at right tackle. He was solid there.

The two incoming freshmen -- Ereck Flowers and Taylor Gadbois -- were the backups at left and right tackle, respectively, after Johnson went to guard. Seniors Ben Jones and Jeremy Lewis, two players have logged very limited minutues throughout their careers, were the backups at guard to finish spring. Jared Wheeler was McDermott's backup. Redshirt freshman Hunter Wells also provided depth at guard but really struggled in the spring game on the second unit.

Best Guess Depth Chart:
Bunche looks to have wrapped up the left tackle job going into the summer. Feliciano (left and Linder (right) are the top guards. McDermott is the center. Henderson and Johnson will compete for the right tackle job in fall camp. The backups from left to right are Flowers, Lewis, Wheeler, and Jones.

What's Ahead:
The biggest competition battle on the offensive line, and probably one of the top ones on the entire team, will be for the starting right tackle job. Henderson has more experience than Johnson there but Johnson was the starter to begin spring. Henderson finished the spring as the starter, after Johnson replaced Feliciano at guard. Either way, it'll likely be like a 50/50 split in playing time. Bunche should be solid at left tackle. Linder should be an All-Conference caliber performer and McDermott could be that at center. Feliciano was solid at right tackle last season and is even better at guard, his more natural position. The Canes seem to have six quality offensive linemen going into the summer. The goal will be for some of the others to develop into the types of players that can be trusted in any situation. Danny Isidora will be added to the mix at guard in the fall and could end up winning a spot on the second unit, reducing his chances of redshirting.


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